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Pitfalls of UI & UX modernization and ways to reduce risks

The possible issues that may affect the entire process UI & UX modernization

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As any other process related to software development and enhancement, UI & UX modernization may bring in some serious pitfalls. And if you want to modernize the UI/UX of your product, we recommend you to read this article very attentively in order to bear in mind all possible issues that may affect the entire process. Of course, we should warn you that the list that we’ve prepared for you is not full. It can be much longer. However, we’ve gathered the most widely-spread pitfalls that may create major challenges for you and your team.

  • We want you to realize that the UI & UX modernization represents itself as a fully functional modernization. It requires time and resources but sometimes it is impossible to estimate how long it will take. Moreover, it’s not always possible to conduct it at a fixed price.
  • Sometimes some components are incompatible or don’t exist at all for an up-to-date Delphi version. Let’s admit that not all companies that provided components 15 years ago still exist.
  • As we’ve already mentioned above, you cannot estimate the time needed for modernization, there are a lot of pitfalls, a lot of hidden work, and a lot of communication risks. The development team can think about one thing, management will think about different things. The major risk or pitfall is having no results of migration. For example, a company started the migration, but a year or even two years later, after investing an impressive sum of money, there can still be no working product.

Let’s have a look at 2 use cases

The first use case. We had a Delphi 7 application. It functioned well but it looked quite obsolete and was difficult to support. Redesigning and UI modernization were very important in this case as the company works in the beauty industry, where the first impression is crucial.

What did we do step by step? We conducted a source code analysis and made a decision to migrate the core form to a totally new UI. Unfortunately, we cannot do that by just implementing cosmetic changes. We used Visio for the creation of a software navigation map and forms hierarchy. We used HotGloo for prototyping new forms with updated navigation. After that, developers created a FMX application as previously we had an VCL app. The decision to go to FMX was made as we wanted to use FMX styles and engines. We just created an empty FMX application attached to all the VCL application forms and units migrated to an up to date Delphi version. After that it was possible to combine VCL and FMX forms in the same project.

During the process of modernization, instead of implementing 20 forms, we implemented 40 forms, because the app didn’t look modern without new pop-ups forms, confirmation windows and other elements. The entire process took 11 months. And our work brought its fruits!

After our client showed just a new prototype of the software (not a working product) to potential customers, at least 3 of them expressed their intention to sign contracts.

The second use case. We had a client with a Delphi 2006 desktop app, and it had a lot of calculations and drawings and as a result, the performance left much to desire. The users of this product started to insist on moving the app to another technology in order to achieve better functionality. In order not to conduct a serious migration that may require a lot of effort and money but may not bring any results, we decided to perform a business analysis first. We discussed the client’s requirements, suggest new technologies that we could use instead of Delphi (.NET (C#), Electron (Javascript)). We also developed 3 proof of concept applications. The source code and implementation of all 3 frameworks and application technologies were reviewed by the external specialist (it was done to avoid the risk of our error).

After we prepared a detailed analysis with arguments in favor of and against each of these technologies, the client decided to leave the software on Delphi. Moreover, thanks to the proof of concept we managed to increase the speed even of the existing Delphi application. It became possible thanks to the use of the Delphi parallel calculations library which was not implemented before.

What can we learn from this case? A thorough preliminary analysis will help you to avoid unnecessary work and investments and to find the most appropriate solution.

How to reduce risks

If you have already decided that UI/UX modernization is a very scary thing, please, leave these thoughts aside. We don’t want to discourage you from migration. If you have the right approach to migration, you will be able to conduct it with minimal risks. 

Below you will find a list of recommendations from the Softacom team that will help you to modernize your software successfully.

  1. Don’t migrate in one shot. It is too risky. Continuous development is the most feasible pattern.
  2. Try to combine VCL and FMX. Don’t try to migrate all forms together. Don’t try to migrate from VCL to FMX just because somebody else has done it and you think that it can be useful for you, you should have reasons to migrate to FMX.
  3. Try to apply Delphi styles before global UX modernization. Just apply the style for your project and your project properties to understand how it looks, maybe you can change the widths and heights of controls, move them on the forms and it will look better.
  4. And please, do not perform migration just because you want to do something with your software. If you want to change something and you do not know what to do, just expand its features, for example.

If you have a well-thought strategy for migration, you will definitely succeed! That’s why please be ready to spend some time on preparation (if you want to reach excellent results, of course!).

And do not forget that in case you need any help with your software, the Softacom team is always by your side and is ready to lend you a helping hand.

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